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A Southerner’s guide to the North

The North of England is a place Southerners rarely venture into. Growing up, my Dad would gleefully reminisce about his youth up here. Since moving to Manchester three months ago, there are some things I’ve noticed. Here are some things I’ve learnt as a Southerner in the North.

Get a ‘proper’ winter coat

Get. A. Winter. Coat. Just do it. The winter is unforgiving to Southerners here. Back in Bristol, a black hoodie or bomber jacket would do me fine. Here? That’d be a joke. It rains, it snows, and it’s freezing at the best of times. Thankfully, in town there are loads of options for coats. In Primark, H&M, etc, they’re £40-70. If that’s too steep, Sainsbury’s (and other supermarkets) have ones from £35! UNIQLO also have high-quality coats from £50-£160+. My advice? Make sure it’s showerproof and Mum-approved.

There will be culture clashes, but not in the way you’d expect

I’ve seen some dark things up here … and mainly in the kitchen. Baked beans on pasta, marinating chicken in pickle juice, the list goes on. However, the worst offence is the love for mushy peas. Disgusting. But that’s not the only thing! Every “I’m cold” I’ve uttered has quickly been followed by a northern “Oh, I’m quite warm actually!” It could literally be snowing outside and you’ll get the same response. Overall though socially, the North-South divide is definitely a myth.

Moisten up

In case I haven’t made it clear enough, it’s cold here. Like really cold. As a result, your face will suffer. Recently my lips and eyes have started to get chapped, and I couldn’t work out why. Turns out, it’s because of the weather. To save your skin this winter, I recommend getting some heavy-duty lip balm and moisturiser. Upgrade your normal lip balm to one containing shea or cocoa butter, vitamin E, or honey. Burts Bees (£3.99) and Blistex (£2.69) are a shout. For your face, aim for thicker sensitive skin moisturisers. Boots is a great place for advice on this, otherwise check out Cerave. Hand-cream wise, you can’t go wrong with Aveeno or anything with cocoa butter.

Say goodbye to the sun

Whenever I call my brother, I don’t look at him, I look at the sun. There’s just something about Southern sunshine that the North doesn’t have. Up here, you’ll get a few sunny hours of sun a week. Down South, we have annual heatwaves where we’d forget that grey days exist. Even at this time of year, there’d regularly be crisp sunny days. To put it simply, don’t bother with SPF, you won’t be needing it I’m afraid.

Accents & arguments

There’s something I’ve noticed repeatedly about my Northern friends, and it’s their accent. More specifically, their accents when they argue. Whenever a northerner gets passionate about something, their accent will gradually grow stronger, more so if there’s another northerner involved. This accounts for all regions across the North, but particularly Geordies. It’s always funny, and I wouldn’t wish arguments to be any other way.

I can understand why my Dad loved living up here. People are welcoming and friendly. It’s also a lot more hipster than I expected, with the Northern Quarter resembling Notting Hill. Overall though, I’d definitely recommend coming up here. There’s a lot of culture and tonnes to do – just bring a coat.

Tags: culture, guide, southerner, the north, winter

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